The Bull

The Importance of Removing Confederate Monuments

What came to light after the Charlottesville terror.

White+Supremacists+gather+at+the+site+of+the+Robert+E+Lee+statue.
White Supremacists gather at the site of the Robert E Lee statue.

White Supremacists gather at the site of the Robert E Lee statue.

Getty

Getty

White Supremacists gather at the site of the Robert E Lee statue.

Lucy Callender

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On August 12th, a white supremacist group led by Jason Kessler banded together to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville, Virginia. The monument was in the process of being removed due to requests from city members as well as the N.A.A.C.P.  Despite threatening remarks and violence, police refrained from intervening with Kessler’s protest group, a sharp contrast with brutal police behavior at peaceful Black Lives Matter rallies in the past. A protest rally formed against the white supremacist group, and as activists marched, a car drove through the crowd, killing one and injuring 19.

In spite of the blatant violence that resulted from this alt right movement, many politicians advocate continuously for the preservation of these statues all around the country, often ignoring the true meaning behind Confederate monuments. Those in favor of their preservation argue that these monuments represent a historical turning point in the civil war, and that removing them would remove the history they represent. On the surface, a pro- history stance may make the most sense and be the most compelling argument. After doing research, however, one will find information that sharply contrasts with this argument. Most of the confederate monuments seen today were erected in the 1920s, as southern states stiffened Jim Crowe laws. Then, 30 years later, at the height of the Civil rights movement, even more were created. So are these monuments a tribute to history, or a symbol of oppression intended to reinstate white supremacists as a dominant force?

By allowing these statues to remain, we are, at best, pardoning an unforgivable moment in history. At the worst, we are celebrating men who fought for the enslavement of human beings. In order to progress as a nation, steps must be taken to eliminate the monuments altogether.

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